Poached Pears

Poached pears are an elegantly simple dessert. You can dress them up by dipping them in chocolate and serving them with vanilla ice cream as in the French classic poires belle Helene. You can also enjoy them sliced as part of a fruit compote with fresh figs and raspberries.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 10 minutesTotal: 30 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 strip (2") lemon peel
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise


  • Rub the lemon juice on the pears.
  • In a saucepan combine the sugar and water and heat over low to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon peel and vanilla bean. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the pear halves to the simmering liquid and place a piece of parchment paper over the surface of the liquid. Poke a few slits in the paper to let steam escape.
  • Simmer the pears for 25 minutes, until tender. (Poke them with a paring knife to test for tenderness.)
  • Remove from heat and let pears cool in poaching liquid. Refrigerate in liquid until ready to serve.